Australia So Much to See
When away from cities, people are much more likely to stop and help if you have a breakdown. The more remote, the more people
are likely to stop. After all, there may not be many cars going past, so everyone stops to offer help.
are people more suspicious of others when in urban areas, but getting help is not difficult. They will usually have phone reception
to make a call to their motoring organisation or a mechanic, and food supplies will not be far away. When remote, a simple
break down can be major, and if not fixable on the spot, they may be in for a long wait. Recovery by a motoring organisation
authorised mechanic will be expensive, particularly if far from the town. Not many people will be so callous as to drive on
past a broken down vehicle in the outback.
Even if you don’t have mechanical skills, you may still be able to help. You may have the right tools, cool drinking water, communications methods, or just give them the comfort of knowing someone cares
until further help can be found.
When stopping to help, consider the safety of persons (yourselves and the other party)
first and foremost. If in traffic, ensure that traffic is stopped or slowed either by bystanders or safety warning devices.
People have been run over on the road while doing something as simple as changing a tyre.
When stopping, if you don’t
feel comfortable about the circumstances, go slowly alongside and ask out the window “Are you alright?” or “Do you need a hand?” then pull up a little way in front of the stopped vehicle, and one person only walk back to check. We have never felt it a problem
and always stop to offer help. Sometimes all is under control, but sometimes help is needed and welcomed.
stopped and helped many times. In Central Australia, we passed a Wicked hire van stopped on the roadside and asked if they were
OK. The young German replied “Just a flat tyre” but then plaintively added “But we could do with some help”. The young
couple were reading the instruction booklet. They had located and taken out the spare tyre and tools, but really were unsure
about how to go about it. The small jack provided with the vehicle could not jack the car up sufficiently to change the
tyre so my husband used our larger jack and proceeded to change the tyre for them. They had never changed a tyre before, so
were very grateful for the simple assistance we offered.
Several times either our larger jack or a second jack has been
needed for such a simple task as changing a tyre for a fellow traveller.
On one occasion (on the Tanami Road), we stopped,
as did the next two cars that came along. My husband diagnosed the mechanical problem and they had a part to suit. Although
the fix was not perfect, it got them going although they had to travel a little slowly. No-one left until their vehicle was
mobile. A little later that day, we had a problem, and the very same people we had stopped for came to help us; we were more
than ‘paid in full’. We then travelled behind them to ensure they reached Alice Springs safely, where they were able to obtain
Stop and help, offering what ever assistance you can. If offered
payment, tell them the only payment you want is that they too always stop and render assistance, and ‘pass it on’. “Don’t pay
it back, pay it forward” summarises this sentiment.
With lots of free and low cost camping opportunities, it is worth taking your caravan or camper to Tasmania. For those reluctant
to take a big rig on some of the steep and winding roads, it is easy to leave the caravan and take day trips nearby. This way,
you can drive with confidence down narrow tracks and to parking areas for tourism features without worrying if you will be able to
park or turn your rig around.
Devonport: There are several caravan parks in and close to Devonport, and at towns within easy commuting distance with caravan
parks, low cost or free camping areas.
Permit parking at $10 for self contained close to the Spirit of Tasmania terminal
is available at Girdlestone Park, East Devonport. Also available to the south of Devonport at Horsehead Creek, Quoiba.
overnight parking for self contained is permitted at a designated area at LaTrobe which is only minutes away from Devonport however
it can get packed out.
Spirit of Tasmania. There is no choice but the Spirit of Tasmania ferries if you want take your car or car and caravan. Bookings can be made on line here. Ensure that you measure the full length of your rig and if towing a caravan, allow for the
size of the draw bar. Someone I know forgot and gave the length of the tow vehicle, and the length of the caravan (as it is
known; being internal length). They had to pay an extra amount to go on the ferry. Your fare will allow for a
Federal Government rebate.
The Spirit boats only go between Melbourne and Devonport. Depending on the time
of the year, there may be a choice of day or night sailings. We travelled to Tasmania on a day crossing in peak season and enjoyed
calm waters and freedom to walk around the boat or sit at table and chairs in one of the lounges. There was access to small
decks for outside views and taking photos. You may not travel in or visit your vehicle during transit. We returned on
a night crossing, booking a cabin with port hole. Day crossings were only available during peak periods such as school holidays
and Easter We had a very comfortable night despite rough seas. Following watching the lights of Devonport disappear
into the distance standing out in cold wind and light rain, we enjoyed a lovely meal at the cafeteria and retired to our cabin. The en suite bathroom was lovely and the hot shower was welcome after the cold wind.
Gas cylinders (within code) correctly connected to your carvan or camper can be taken, including any gas contained therein. Other gas bottles must be transported separately, and collected on arrival. For this reason, we decided to leave our camp cooker
and gas bottle at home for this trip.
Fuel jerry cans must be empty and dry of residual fuel before they can be carried
on the ship. In the event a petrol/diesel can has residual fuel inside, and thereby may have a dangerous gaseous/air mixture,
passengers should fill the canister with water before being allowed to travel and to remain with the passenger vehicle. A
full fuel tank in your vehicle is acceptable. Generators must have the fuel emptied as best as is possible. Cleaning products
such as Methyated Spirits or Thinners may not be taken.
Dogs: Spirit of Tasmania fares are also available for pets. Take
your beloved pet to Tasmania for $22 per pet each way. If you are planning on travelling with a pet, it must be booked in a
kennel. Water is supplied and passengers are requested to provide pet blankets but no food for consumption during the sailing. You are not permitted access to your pet during the sailing. It is recommend pets be appropriately vaccinated against domestic
pet related diseases. All dogs entering Tasmania are subject to quarantine entry conditions and must be treated for Hydatid
tapeworm within 14 days prior to entering Tasmania. See health requirements.
Update: Dogs may now travel in the owner's motohome
or caravan. If the passengers wish to leave their animals in their vehicle then they need to sign an Indemnity Form. If
wanting to do this they need to speak with the Customer Contact Centre on 132010 so that the appropriate documentation can be sent
to them and notes made in their booking. Recommendation not to feed the animals for the day prior to sailing, and veterinary requirement
for entry into Tasmania must still be adhered to.
Quarantine Restrictions. Check here for exclusions. Fresh food
in Tasmania is lovely and you will soon be able to stock up again.
Melbourne: Prior to crossing on the Spirit of Tasmania, we chose to stay at what was then called # Ashley Gardens Holiday Village in
the Melbourne suburb of Braybrook. They also have a storage area for those choosing to leave their caravan. The
park is easy to find from all directions as it is right near a ring road. Most of the guests were either on their way to or
just returning from Tasmania. Reception staff gave out a map of how to get to the ferry terminal and advised best time to leave. We just followed the string of caravans and campers heading to the ferry terminal and didn’t have to stop, apart from the short quarantine
inspection before boarding.
Amenities and laundry were very good. Lightly grassed campsites, including some drive
through so you don't need to unhitch for the overnight. Nice touch - the staff member who books you in then escorts you (on
a buggy) to your site. We booked by on line through the website and communicated by email to ensure we had a drive through site
of suitable size for our rig. Area seemed fairly quiet at night for a city. A small shopping area with Safeway store
right next to the Park. We took the trolley with groceries right to the caravan when we shopped. This did not include
any fruit and vegetables as you cannot take them to Tasmania, and the fresh produce in Tasmania is nicer. Office staff
also advised which bus to take into central Melbourne for sightseeing or shopping. Everyone heading out to Tasmania was trying to
give away their fruit and vegetables and cans of petrol or diesel. We eventually found some youngsters who were very grateful
for 20 litres of free unleaded petrol which we had purchased in case we needed to use the generator on our way to Melbourne.
# This caravan park is now under different management and called Discover Parks Melbourne. See Discovery Parks
Melbourne. For best routes from this park to the Spirit of Tasmania terminal, use the M1 as per route on this map
travelling with dogs, the nearest Pet Friendly Caravan Park to the Spirit of Tasmania terminal is Five Ways Caravan Park, Dingley
Village, 27 kilometres to the south east of the Spirit of Tasmania terminal. This is a small park which gets good reports from
those who stay.
See our Travelogues from 2006.
Stopping to help others safely, Spirit of Tasmania ferry do's and don'ts
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